Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #73 9/15/2010

Question: My mouse is jumpy and not smooth when I move it, how do I fix it?


If the mouse does slide smoothly or is jumpy feeling it probably only needs cleaning. Depending on what type mouse you have will be the way to clean it. Older mice had balls in them and most newer mice are optical and have a red laser that shines out the bottom. You can still get ball mice, but most people get optical. Whether it is wireless or a long wire back to computer will not make a difference.

With ball mice most often then get dirt on the rollers that the ball glides against. Turn the mouse upside down and there is a round plastic coven over the ball. The cover usually has an arrow showing the direction to turn to remove it. If not try counterclockwise. After turning it the cover will come off and the ball can fall freely out. Remove the ball. You can wipe the ball with a cloth with water to clean it, but usually it is ok. Now look inside and you will see two or three rollers. You will see a black band around them. that should not be there, that is dirt. Run your fingernail or another flat surface along the roller and the dirt will fall off in clumps. You can use your finger to turn the roller and scrape the dirt off. Do this on each roller and then turn the mouse right side up and gently shake any dirt out. Put the ball back in and the cover back on and secure the cover by turning in the opposite direction.

A optical mouse is easier to clean. On the bottom you will find 3-5 small pads. They accumulate dirt on them and need wiped off. Don't scrape to hard or the pads will come off. They are glued on. I usually use my fingernail to scrape this dirt off also, but any flat surface rolled on it on clean these off. You can also use a damp cloth (using water) to wipe it.

To clean finger dirt off the top us a damp (not dripping) cloth with a little sop and water and wipe it.

After cleaning you may think you have a new mouse. How often you need to do this depends on your environment.